So I was having a conversation with one of my running buddies on the run this morning and he was asking me “so how do you FUEL for something like a 50 mile race?” It is honestly a question I get on a consistent basis especially when we are talking about ultras. So, I am here to share some of my best kept secrets and how I get myself through such a hardcore ultrarunning event and not die. Haha, kidding…well not really. Not dying…is kind of a part of it all too.
–Electrolytes are the MVP. There comes a time in your run when just plain water does not really do the trick. I am a big fan of products like Heed and/or Gatorade to serve as fuel for a run. With the Gatorade some of my friends prefer the G2 because it has less sugar so I will do that sometimes, or water down the Gatorade so it is not so strong tasting. Also…I’m a huge fan of salt tablets especially for long runs when it is hot and humid and when I just feel depleted. I took a salt tablet when I hit a major wall at mile 30 of that 50 mile run – and can I tell you, it made a world of a difference and changed the game for my race in a major way.
–Explore more natural fuel options over GU – I know, GU is easy and you don’t really have to think about it but sometimes I am not sure that GU is always the answer. If I do any type of energy gel I will do Hammer gels as I feel they aren’t as harsh on my yummy. Also I LOVE DATES and dried fruits! If you have not yet tried a medjool date you are missing out on life.
–Figure out what YOUR body prefers as an energy boost. What works for your running buddy may not work for you! I honestly like more savory or salty snacks over sweet. Even during my 100 miler last year…all I wanted were savory things. Thankfully at trail races there are so many options it is like a buffet. LOL. But I skipped the m&ms or whatever and went straight for pickles and pretzels. And pickle juice is indeed a game changer especially when dealing with cramps and etc. during ultra runs. Believe it.
–Eat and drink when you are not feeling it. This for me has always been the hardest to nail down. Because let’s be honest…when you’re at mile 18 or mile 35 (for my ultra unicorns) and you feel depleted NOTHING looks, sounds, or tastes good. But you have to fuel and keep fueling early because if you wait too long it will be too late and you will wish you were more diligent. So stay diligent and respect taking care of yourself during these runs. And your next long run may just be that much more awesome.
How do you fuel and power through your long runs?